By the late Bill R. Linder Edited 2015 by Jerome Tew
This research was done about 20 years ago before the maps of Tom Byrd were in use. Only Page 1 edited
John Holley II was a son of John Holley and Sarah Church.
He was born about 1705-15, likely in either lower Virginia or the area that became Bertie County, North Carolina. His wife’s name was Rebecca Gilbert.
John Holley II received land from his step-father John Gilbert and mother Sarah in Bertie County in Feb 1725/26, which he sold in 1737. He acquired another 167 acres in Bertie, which he sold in 1747.
Will of John Holley Sr. In the name of God everlasting, I John Holley now very sick and perhaps not long for this world. I make this my last will and testament making void all former wills of mine, in the first place I bequeath unto Almighty God my soul and my body to the dust. All my earthly substance I leave then after this manner. My plantation I leave unto my faithful wife during her life, after her decease to any of my boys as their Mother shall see fit. My boys I leave them free at eighteen years old provided their Mother marrieds or changes her widowhood: as for my moveable estate– I leave unto my wife except my mill which I leave unto my son John provided she has the use of it as long as she lives. I leave unto everyone of my boys a sow and pigs at their freedom day and unto the girls a cow and calf at sixteen married but my gun I leave unto my son Richard. 23 December 1728. I appoint my wife Sarah sole and by herself executrices of this will and testament. Amen, John Holley
Witness: John Sweeney
The will was proved in Feb court 1728/9.
It is plain here that John and Richard Holley were less than 18 years old and that this was a young family and we have no knowledge of how many children that John Sr. had. There were also unnamed girls.
Jacob and James Holley that I have added were 10 or under when the will was wrote. I put the YOB for John at 1710 and Richard was born 1715. I put the YOB for John Holley Sr. at 1685 and Sarah Church at 1690.
John Holley II was granted land in Duplin County in 1750 and thereafter appears in the records of Duplin. The documentation of his land transactions as grantee and grantor shows that by Mar 1764, he was in possession of 300 acres in two tracts.
Richard Holley, brother to John Holley II, was not addressed in the original essay. Richard is listed in the John Holley Sr. 1725/26 will as a son. Richard Holley sold to Sarah Odom 50 acres in Duplin in 1754 for 3 pounds. In 1767 Sarah Odom sold this 50 acres to William Odom and Richard Holley witnessed this deed…giving his ok. Right after this deed, Abraham Odom sold William Odom 50 acres of land for fifteen pounds. I believe that Sarah Odom was a daughter of Richard Holley and she married William Odom in 1754. The mother of Richard Holley was named Sarah. Abraham Odom was the father of William Odom. Sarah Odom was born c1736. William Odom was born c1730. Sarah Odom had a branch named after her off Myrtle Swamp and some deeds list her name.
Richard Holley patented 600 acres in Duplin in south Timothy Quadrangle and William Odom settled about one mile away and so did Abraham Odom. Richard Holley is documented in a deed to 1796 in Sampson and likely died about 1797. Richard was over 80 years old. Richard sold to William Odom 50 acres of his 600 acres in 1761. Richard sold to David Jernigan 340 acres of land for 25 pounds in 1755. David Jernigan moved to Dobbs and sold this 340 acres in 1779 to Bedreadon Carroway for 90 pounds. Richard has a married daughter in 1754 and his YOB at 1715 is a good date from Him.
Jacob Holley patented 200 acres in 1756 about 5 miles north of Richard Holley. This is not the Jacob Holley listed in Linder’s essay as a son of John Holley II. This Jacob must be a brother to Richard and John Holley II. This son was born about 1718 in Bertie. Most young men patent 90 acres or so. John Holley Sr. also had some daughters, but they were not listed anywhere.
James Holley 1720-1760, most likely also a son of John Holley Sr. and brother to John Holley II. Richard Holley, and Jacob Holley. James married Sarah ___ and they had four children by 1761. John, James, Tamor, and unknown
Born in 1761. Sarah Holley patented 200 acres in 1771. This land was in Timolthy Quadrangle about one mile south of Jacob’s 200 acres patent. This John Holley was born about 1750. James wrote his will in deed book 3:123 in Dec. 1760. His wife Sarah then expecting.
John Holley II was deceased by 28 Mar 1765. On this date, John’s son Edward Holley sold to his brother John Holley [III], 100 acres on the west side of “Great Coharie Creek.” The deed stated that the land Edward was selling fell by heirship from John Holley to his son Edward Holley.
The relationship of these two sons of John Holley II — John Holley (III) and Edward Holley — can be accounted for in the Duplin County deeds by the writer. Several more sons and a daughter are claimed by other researchers, and the writer is including some of their material: Jonathan Holley; Richard Holley; James Holley; Rachel Holley who married Jeremiah Tew; and Jacob Holley.
Holley researchers are invited to contribute to the further development of this research paper as we attempt to create a documented reconstitution of the John Holley II family.
1. John Holley, Jr. (III), b. c. 1739 Bertie Co., NC, md. Elizabeth ______, and d. after 1780 Eastern TN.
He bought 135 acres “on the west side of Great Cohary” 10 May 1763 from John Shephard, Jr. (Bk. 1, p. 344). Two years later, he was “of South Carolina” and sold this 135 acres 27 Oct 1765 to William Green (Bk. 1, p. 169). This land was granted to John Shephard by patent dated 22 Oct 1762. The deeds mention Abraham Gilbert. Jacob Holly, Jr., and Nathan’l Thornton witnessed the 1763 purchase, and Abraham Gilbert, Anthony A. Cock, and Samuel Heardin witnessed the 1765 sale.He bought 100 acres in Mar 1765 from his brother Edward Holley that Edward had heired from their father John Holley.2. Edward Holley (of whom more separately), b. c. 1741 Bertie Co., NC, md. Sarah, and d. 1799-1800 Sampson Co., NC. 3. Jonathan Holley, b. c. 1743 Bertie Co., NC. Moved to SC.4. James Holley, b. c. 1745 Bertie or Duplin Co., NC, d. 1816 Richmond Co., GA. Moved first to SC.5. Rachel Holley, b. c. 1747 Duplin Co., NC, md. Jeremiah Tew 6. Richard Holley, b. 1 Aug 1749 Bertie or Duplin Co., NC, d. c. 1825 Lynches Creek, Kershaw Co., SC, md. (1) Elizabeth ______ (b. 22 Sep 1745, d. 27 Sep 1814). Children (from will): Richard Holley, Jr., b. 25 Dec 1769; William Holley, b. 1 Aug 1771; Margaret Holley, b. 6 Apr 1773; Zachariah Holley, b. 14 Sep 1776; Ann Holley, b. 22 Aug 1778, md. ______ Smith; Lydia Holley, b. 14 Sep 1780, md. ______ Davidson; John Holley, b. 22 Dec 1782; Joel Holley, b. 5 Dec 1785 ? (hard to read); Daniel Holley, b. 21 Nov 1785; Keziah Holley, md. ______ Massey;). He md. (2) Mary ______ (b. c. 1768 Kershaw Co., SC), likely no issue.7. Jacob Holley, b. c. 1751 Duplin Co., NC. Moved to SC.
Given Land in Bertie County for “Love, Good Will and Effection”–Ia deed from John Gilbert and his wife Sarah to John Holley, dated 12 Feb 1725/26 (1735/36?), they gave land on the south side of Wiccacon Creek in Bertie County, NC, to “our son-in-law and son John Holley for love, Good Will and Effection.” This consisted of 170 acres in two parcels — the first being 100 acres on Wickacon Creek that John Holley I bought from Richard Malpass in 1721, and the second being the 70 acres John Holley I bought from John Bush in 1722. [Bertie Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. D, p. 262]
Sells Above Land in Bertie County to Tidmon in 1737
In 1737, John Holley sold to Edward Tidmon the Bertie County land he got from his mother and stepfather John and Sarah Gilbert on 12 Feb 1725/6 (1735/6?). This land was on the south side of Wiccacon Creek in Chinkapen Neck and was described as “the land conveyed by (to?) John Holley, decd. by John Bush and Richard Malpass, dec’d. by their separate deeds joyning together.” [Bertie Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. E, p. 270]
Sells 167 Acres in Bertie County to Kitrell in 1747–In 1747, John Holley sold to Jonathan Kitrell 167 acres of Bertie County land on the east side of Connaritsit [Connaritsa] Swamp between John Gilbert and Jonathan Kitrell. [Bertie Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. G, p. 16] [
Need to find a record of John Holley I obtaining the 167 acres.]
1747, Bertie County. John Holley to Jonathan Kitrell, 30 pounds for 167 acres on east side Connaritsit Swamp between John Gilbert and Jonathan Kitrell adjoining John Thomas. Wit: John Thomas, Patience Thomas. Proved in May Ct. 1747. Benjamin Wynns D. C/C.
Granted Land in Duplin County in Mar 1750–John Holley II was granted 300 acres of land in Duplin, now Sampson, by patent In 1750. The original papers for this grant are lost. The patent is mentioned in a 1764 deed from John Holley to William Ball (see later) for 300 acres and again in 1766 when William Ball sells the land to Joseph Rhodes (see later).
The above patent was located in the north part of Timothy Quadrangle brother Rickard Holley patented
- Granted Land in Duplin County in Feb 1754–
John Holley was granted 114 acres in Duplin County joining Coharie and the Mouth of a branch in the east side of Great Coharie on 25 Feb 1754. [Patent Bk. ?, p. 91, as abstracted in Margaret M. Hofmann, Colony of North Carolina 1735-1764 Abstracts of Land Patents Volume One (1982), p. 38 item 532]
Sells 114 Acres to John Gilbert in June 1754– In June 1754, John Holley sold the 114 acres he was granted in Feb 1754 at the mouth of a branch on the east side of “great Coharie” to John Gilbert. Richard Holley, James Holley, and Samuel Holliman witnessed. [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 2, p. 242]
20 Jun 1754, Duplin County. 5 pounds “Current money of Virginia” for 114 acres “Beginning … at the mouth of a branch On the East side of great Coheary.” Land was granted to the said John Holley by patent dated 5 Feb 1754. Wit: Richard Holley, James Holley, and Samuel Holliman.
Buys 200 Acres from William Drake in Nov 1754–John Holley bought 200 acres on the east side of Horse Swamp from William Drake in Nov 1754. [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 2, p. 251]
20 Nov 1754, Duplin County. 10 pounds “Current money of Virginia” for 200 acres “Beginning … On the East side of Horse Swamp.” Land was part of a larger tract granted to the said William Drake by patent dated 1 Sep 1753. Wit: Gabriel Thomas and Simon Turner.
Witnesses Stout to Richard Holley Deed in Dec 1754 John Holley and Bryan McClam witnessed on 19 Dec 1754 when John Stout sold 200 acres “on the west side of Great Coheary Creek” to Richard Holley. The deed mentions Holley’s Mash and “the fork.” Deed was proved 9 Jul 1755, and a note says 100 acres. [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 2, p. 282, as abstracted in ____ p. 73]
Witnesses Stout to Daniel Deed in 1755–John Holley and John Johnston witnessed on 24 Feb 1755 when John Stout sold 100 acres “on the West side of Great Coharie Creek” to Jacob Daniel. [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 2, p. 279]
Sells 200 Acres to Moses Smith in May 1756– John Holly sold 200 acres on the east side of Horse Swamp to Moses Smith in May 1756. [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 2, p. 356]
4 May 1756, Duplin County. 20 pounds “Current money of Virginia” for 200 acres “Beginning … On the east side of Horse Swamp.” Land was “part of a tract granted to William Drake late of said province the Patant Bearing date” 1 Sep 1753. Wit: John Yarbrough, Robert Bell, and Abraham Huggins.
Sells 300 Acres to Michael Risher in May 1756
John Holly sold 300 acres on the north side of “great Coharie Creek and on Marsh branch” to Michael Risher in May 1756. The land had been granted to John Holly in 1750. [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 2, p. 353]
20 May 1756, Duplin County. 40 pounds for 300 acres “on the north side of great Coheary Creek and on Marsh branch.” Land was granted to the said John Holly by patent dated 31 Mar 1750. Wit: Jacob Holly and Samuel Holliman.
Granted 200 Acres in Bladen County in Sep 1756–John Holley was granted 200 acres in Bladen County on the west side of South River, joining the River, on 29 Sep 1756. [Patent Bk. ?, p. 176, as abstracted in Margaret M. Hofmann, Colony of North Carolina 1735-1764 Abstracts of Land Patents Volume One (1982), p. 356 item 5008]
Buys 300 Acres from Risher in Feb 1757– John Holly “of Bladen County” bought 300 acres on the north side of “Great Coheary Creek” from Michael Risher in Feb 1757. It appears that he bought back the land he sold Risher in May 1756 and paid him 5 pounds more (sold for 40, bought back for 45). [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 2, p. 414]
8 Feb 1757, Duplin County. 45 pounds for 300 acres “On the North side of Great Coheary Creek and on Marsh Branch.” Land was granted to the said John Holly by patent dated 31 Mar 1750. Wit: John Bush and Samuel Hollyman.
Buys 100 Acres from Sherod Reynolds (Runnals) in Mar 1759– John Holly bought 100 acres on the west side of “great Coheary Creek” from Sherod Reynolds in Mar 1759. [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 3, p. 51]
22 Mar 1759, Duplin County. 30 pounds for 100 acres “On the west side of great Coheary Creek being the land where I now live.” Land was part of a tract granted to John Stout by patent bearing date 30 Mar 1754 and conveyed by deed from said Stout to Richard Holley bearing date 9 Jul 1755 and by deed from Richard Holley to Sherod Runnals bearing date 9 Apr 1756. Wit: John Jackson and Abraham Odam.
- Witnesses Holliman to ‘Barfoot’ Deed in 1759–
John Holley and Geraldus O’Bryan (?) witnessed on 1 Sep 1759 when Samuel Holliman of Johnston County sold to Noah Barfoot 150 acres on the north side “of great Cohara.” [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 3, p. 53]
Witnesses Odam to Jackson Deed in Feb 1761–John Holley and Thomas Tidder witnessed on 12 Feb 1761 when Abraham Odam sold 100 acres to John Jackson. The deed mentions “Dividing Branch.” [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 3, p. 188]
Granted 100 Acres in Duplin County in Dec 1761– John Holly was granted 100 acres in Duplin County on the East side of Great Cohairey, joining the fork of Mill Swamp, on 5 Dec 1761. [Patent Bk. ?, p. 393, as abstracted in Margaret M. Hofmann, Colony of North Carolina 1735-1764 Abstracts of Land Patents Volume One (1982), p. 421 item 5972]
Witnesses Jacob Daniel to Edward Holly Deed in Mar 1762–John Holly and Jesse Brown witnessed on 26 Mar 1762 when Jacob Daniel sold 100 acres “on the West side of great Coheary Creek” to Edward Holly. [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 3, p. 255]
Witnesses Odom to Jackson Deed in 1763–John Holly and William Cherry witnessed on 14 Feb 1763 when Abraham Odom sold 100 acres “on the west side of Great Cohary” to John Jackson. [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 1, p. 367]
Sells 300 Acres to William Ball in Jan 1764–John Holley of Duplin County, Planter, sold 300 acres “on the North side of Great Cohary Creek and the Marsh Branch” to William Ball of Duplin County in Jan 1764. [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 1, p. 406] This land had been granted to John Holley in Mar 1750 and seems to be the same 300 acres he sold to Risher in May 1756 and bought back in Feb 1757.
14 Jan 1764, Duplin County. “This indenture … between John Holley of Duplin County … Planter … and William Ball of the … county aforesaid Planter … for … (200) pounds proclamation money … paid by William Ball … sold … land … on the North side of Great Cohary Creek and on the Marsh Branch Beginning at a White Oak and Runs So 45 Wt 100 Poles to a pine the[n] 53 Wt 23 poles to a pine then Wt 45 East 25 Poles to an Oak then to the Beginning the same land being Granted by Patent to the said John Holley … (31 Mar 1750). Containing … (300) acres … John (his II mark) Holley, Rebecca (her X mark) Holley.” Wit: Noah Barefoot, John Clark, James Lindsy.
Sells 100 Acres to William Ball in Mar 1764–John Holly sold 100 acres on the east side of Great Cohary to William Ball in Mar 1764. The grantee was listed as “John Ball” in one place in the deed, but William Ball is correct. [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 1, p. 432] This is the last transaction found for John Holly before 28 Mar 1765 when his son Edward sold land he had heired from his father John Holly.
Summary of John Holley’s Duplin Land Transactions–John Holley received a 300-acre grant in Duplin County on 31 Mar 1750 on the north side of Great Cohary and on Marsh Branch. He sold this land to Michael Risher in May 1756. Almost a year later, in Feb 1757, he bought the land back. He sold it again to William Ball in Jan 1764. He received a 114-acre grant in Feb 1754 and sold the land four months later to John Gilbert. This John Gilbert may have been his step-brother or was related in some way to his mother Sarah’s 2nd husband, also named John Gilbert.
He bought 200 acres on the east side of Horse Swamp from William Drake in Nov 1754, which he sold a year and a half later to Moses Smith in May 1756. (Moses Smith would later marry the widow of John Byrd, thus becoming the step-father of Bathia Byrd, ancestor of the writer, who would marry Charles Gavin. Moses Smith moved his family to South Carolina in the mid-1760s.)
John Holley received a 200-acre grant in Sep 1756 in Bladen County on the west side of South River. The writer has no record of disposition of this land.He bought 100 acres in Mar 1759 from Sherod Reynolds (Runnals) on the west side of Great Coheary Creek. This land fell by heirship from John Holley to his son Edward Holley, and Edward sold this land in Mar 1765 to his brother John Holley (III).
He received a 100-acre grant in Dec 1761 on the east side of Great Cohairey, joining the fork of Mill Swamp, which he sold in Mar 1764 to William Ball.
1750 Grant Mentioned in Ball to Rhodes Deed in Aug 1766–The 300-acre 1750 patent to John Holley was mentioned in a 1766 deed when William Ball sold the 300 acres to Joseph Rhodes of Dobbs County. [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk 1, p. 217] As shown above, William Ball bought the land from John Holley in Jan 1764.
18 Aug 1766, Duplin County. 240 pounds for 300 acres “On the North side of Great Coheary Creek and on a mash Branch.” Land was granted by patent to John Holley 31 Mar 1750. Deed was signed by William Ball and Isabel Ball. Wit: Simon West, Benjamin Joyner, and Nathaniel West.
Another John Holley Witnesses Ryal Deeds in May 1773–A younger John Holly witnessed two deeds in Duplin County on 29 May 1773 when John Ryal sold two tracts to William Ryal, both “on the West side of great Cohary.” [Duplin Co., NC, Deeds, Bk. 3, pp. 535-536]
This John Holley who was witnessing in 1773 was the son of a James Holley. A James Holley’s 1760 will names his oldest son John Holley (Deed Bk. 3, p. 123); and the land he received was “on the west side of great Cohairy.